Recent comments

  • Explosives, Possibly Dating to 1930s, Found in Sequoia National Park's Crystal Cave--Updated   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Is this guy's title actually Chief Blaster?? If it is, that is a seriously awesome job title :)

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    In this case, the agencies involved in the IBMP are the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

    What we are hearing from the field is that compared with years past, the hazing has been relatively mild; however, there has been some hazing on private property, something that Governor Schweitzer's office says wouldn't happen. However, there are firsthand witnesses reporting otherwise.

    Most of the buffalo are still there; it's also extremely warm this weekend - there should be a huge melting of snow this weekend.

    Some of us joined BFC's rally in Helena the same day that the hazing started, where we attempted to give Gov. Schweitzer and Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis the Buffalo Bill Award for having hilled more buffalo (1,604) than at any time since the 19th century. Schweitzer wasn't there; he had an intern who knew next to nothing about the issue put on a smiling face in accepting the award.

    Locals are beginning to organize in addition to Buffalo Field Campaign. We've formed Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, and the Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo (HOBNOB) are re-activating. We urgently need your support so that this doesn't happen again.

    As the GAO noted, the conflicting missions of the IBMP partners and the lack of a clear goal make the success of the plan impossible. The IBMP must be scrapped; however, in the short term, stopping this haze would be a good idea this year and every other year in both the north and the west of the park

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Wolf Killed Illegally Near Grand Teton National Park, $3,000 Reward Offered   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Kurt, I am not going let this tragic and sad article pass me by without venting my anger at this despicable sick coward that shot this beautiful animal.

    It never amazes me and some people just can't live in balance with nature...it's gotta be this rape and pillage of the land with complete disregard of its natural resources...whether it be fur, fin or feather. With global warming at hand, wildlife is being pushed to the limits for survival, either it be the gray wolf or polar bears of the Arctic. Some idiot that doesn't give a ---- about our natural resources and pulls the trigger to annihilate some species of animal just because it doesn't fit in his scheme of things...is a living coward to boot.

    (Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove gratuitous and unnecessary content and to abide by the Traveler's code of conduct.)

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Well, MRC, I wouldn't want people to use the "open book" approach to get the answers the first time through the quiz. That would take the fun out of it. But I do think it'd be great if people who missed quiz items used various sources (including the Internet) to find out why particular answers were correct. Often, the best place to begin is with the relevant park's home page, which can be accessed through the National Park Guide alphabetical index at http://home.nps.gov/applications/parksearch/atoz.cfm. Everybody with a serious interest in the national parks should have that site bookmarked.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Bob, you want us to use websites, literature and maps to answer your quizzes? I thought one had to answer them straight out of ones head, and was a bit unhappy as I got only 7 out of the 11 this time after 9 of 10 at the last.

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 31 weeks ago

    North Texas has Lake Meredith NRA and Alibates Flint Quarries NM. But maybe better filter systems might help? The Germans use amazing electric particle filters on their plants and use the cooling water to "wash" the exhaust fumes additionally. I'm not really sure, if the US standard is as high as theirs.

  • Montana Governor Asked to "Provide Leadership" In Yellowstone Bison Controversy   6 years 31 weeks ago

    6 years and 16 million dollars for nothing.........and to think, we sent a man to the moon within a single decade. This problem needs to be solved NOW. The wild bison and other animals who have to follow the forage to survive deserve our help.

    This situation is a disgrace to America, the state of Montana, the US Fish & Wildlife and the National Park Service.

  • Protest Against American Revolution Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park Planned for May 15   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Jerry Lenfest is the owner of this property, not the National Park Service. The proposed ARC museum is absolutely beautiful and is giving over 100 acres of open space while only developing on 19.5 acres. What other developer would give you that? This land will be resold to a housing developer for top dollar if the ARC project is thwarted. The artifacts of the ARC collection are fabulous and deserve to be represented in a museum. Isn't it a shame that our country has no museum to honor and educate about the revolutionary war?
    Those who protest it are simply residents who live near the site and don't want the museum in their backyard. Unfortunately, they do not own this land, nor does the National Park Service. I for one, am thrilled so see such a beautiful attraction proposed for this land site and encourage everyone to really do their homework on this project. The members of the ARC have gone above and beyond what they needed to do to give us a museum that not only educates, but is environmentally friendly and keeps a majority of the land as-is. They should be commended for doing so.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    I cannot agree that there is any objective criteria whatsoever for the designation as National Park. Congaree and Cuyahoga Valley were renamed because the Congressman wanted them renamed to increase tourism. Petrified Forest was renamed at the urging of the local communities in an effort to increase tourism. Hot Springs "...spacious land and water area of nation-wide interest established as an inviolable sanctuary for the permanent preservation of scenery, wilderness, and native fauna and flora in their natural condition." Don't make me laugh. Congaree is less than 27,000 acres - more than 140 parks are larger. Carslbad Cavers is open only in the day time. Etcetera. In short, the term National Park has become a political term and denotes nothing relative to the value of the park's resources, importance to the country, role in history, budget, size of staff, or number of visitors. It is time for the NPS and Congress to clean up this confusing and pointless naming system that misleads the public and makes it appear that some parks are inferior to others.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    One purpose if these little quizzies is to get you digging into the literature -- or cyberspace, if you prefer -- to find out more about the parks. The question Sabattis tossed out was a bit tough, though, so perhaps a clue is in order. Think Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    This is absolutely fascinating subject matter, Sabattis. Sport hunting arrangements in the National Park System are all over the map, figuratively and literally. And it isn't just the Preserves that permit sport hunting, either. At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore you've got hunters pursuing deer with rifles and using shotguns to bag ruffed grouse, rabbits, and other small game. At Cumberland Island National Seashore there are a half-dozen public deer hunts each year with permits issued by lottery and limited to bow hunting. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has initiated a feral ungulate control program that incorporates sport hunting. The target animals there are feral sheep (including mouflon sheep) and feral cattle, goats, and pigs. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (how's THAT for a name?!) offers permit-only hunting for deer, turkey, wild boar, and small game such as squirrel, raccoon, rabbit and game birds. There are, I think, some other national parks (not titled Preserves) that permit sport hunting. And don't you think it's a bit bizarre to use the name "preserve" to specifically denote the park system units that permit sport hunting? As for the matter of counting units, I do see the logic in counting Preserves as separate units, even though they are (usually) contiguous with their partner parks and under the same administration. My opinion is rooted mostly in the not so subtle differences in wildlife resource management, law enforcement, and other things that matter. There are other factors to consider, of course, including provisions (as at Denali) for aboriginal people to practice "traditional" subsistence hunting and trapping -- including using snowmobiles and high powered rifles in designated wilderness areas. The more I think about this, the worse my headache gets. I need to take a break.

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Bob - I totally agree, I think that the National Park System would be a little easier to protect and defend if the System itself were properly definied in terms that people could understand.

    I've never found an official explanation for why some National Scenic Trails are Units of the National Park System but others are not, nor are any National Historical Trails. I do have one theory, however, in that one characteristic shared by the Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage NST's, and I believe by none of the others, is that each of those three involve large amounts of Federal land. The Natchez Trace NST is located entirely within the borders of the Natchez Trace Parkway, 2/3rds of the Potomac Heritage NST is located within the borders of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the C&O Canal NHP (only the Laurel Highlands segment is not on Federal land), and I believe that almost the entire corridor of the Appalachian NST that was not already protected as Federal or State land has been acquired by the National Park Service. So far as I know, the National Park Service has not acquired land for any the other Trails. Additionally, many of the other Trails have been assigned to the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Fish and Wildlife Service to be the lead administering agency. So that's my best guess, anyways, for that particular quirk of the National Park System....

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Hey Sabattis, you going to tell us the answer to your bonus question, or just make us all suffer?

  • Coal-Fired Plants Obscuring National Park Vistas   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Of course, the problem with NPCA's report is this - is it possible to build a coal-fired power plant in the United States that is *not* within the viewshed of one of the 391 National Parks? Maybe you could put a coal-fired power plant in north-central Texas that wouldn't impact the viewshed of a National Park, but I'm not even sure about that. In other words, coal-fired power plants aren't a National Parks issue - they're a general environmental issue. Given the threat of global warming, its probably time to start arguing that despite the hazardous waste, the unsightly steam plumes, the small risk of unspeakable disaster, and the much higher total cost that we should start converting all of the Nation's electrical power supply from coal power to nuclear power. Still, at the very least, its a matter of trade-offs of the negative impacts of coal vs. natural gas vs. nuclear electrical power for a country with a growing population and a growing economy. Unfortunately, the NPCA rather inaccurately claims that solar, wind, and geothermal energy, combined with increased conservation, could meet the Nation's energy demands. I can't recall ever seeing that conclusion supported by credible scientists and economists.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Yes Bob, that's it - at least some National Preserves allow sport hunting, although I am not sure that this is true for any other Unit in the National Park System. I'm not sure if there are other differences as well. In addition, to follow up on our conversation on the quiz page, the differing levels of protection for National Preserves relatives to National Parks and National Monuments means that there are nine "National Parks" that the National Park Service inexplicably counts *twice* towards the "391 Units of the National Park System." The NPS counts Aniakchak, Craters of the Moon, Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Great Sand Dunes, Katmai, Lake Clark, and Wrangell-St. Elias as both a National Park/National Monument *and* as a National Preserve towards the 391. Go figure!

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Clustering like things together or placing them in the same category is Management 101. Disregarding this basic rule invites chaos, and the National Park System offers a splendid example. It's probably impractical to straighten this mess out at this late stage of the game, but wouldn't it be nice?

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Bob, I never understood that. Would it be helpful to call only the "real" National Parks by that name and use "unit of the National Park System" for everything else? Of course, the organic act claims that National Parks are not preferred over Monuments or anything else, but for the general public I dare say a National Park still sounds more important - and DC seems to agree, as National Monuments are "upgraded" to full "National Parks".

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    When the first National Preserve was created -- I think it was Big Cypress in 1974 -- it was certain that the provision to make sport hunting legal in a National Preserve would create problems. Is that what you are talking about?

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Those three trails are indeed counted in the inventory; I see that’s correct. But the Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Ice Age Trail, and the North Country Trail are not? And none of the National Historic Trails either? Surely among the NHT's -- the Iditarod, the Juan Bautists de Anza, the Lewis and Clark, the Mormon Pioneer, the Nez Perce, the Oregon, the Santa Fe, the Overmountain Victory, the Pony Express, and the Trail of Tears (perhaps others have been added?) -- there is at least one that makes more sense then, say, the Appalachian Trail. This system must have been devised by a certifiable denizen of Bedlam. Heck, I'm not even sure that I know what a national park is anymore.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    It may be worth noting that there is one variation in designation types in the National Park System that does produce differing levels of protection - there are slight differences between the protection levels of a "National Preserve" and other types of Units in the National Park System - particularly National Park and National Monument. It is correct to note, though, that National Park and National Monument designations provide the same level of protection, and the primary difference is merely one of public relations.

  • Master Craftsmen Restoring 18th Century House That Survived the Civil War   6 years 31 weeks ago

    My last name is Ellwood and I was wondering if I have any connection to this guy... was the guy who built this house invovlved in the civil war?

  • National Park Quiz 2: Straddlers   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Hi Bob - actually when the National Park Service refers to the "391 Units of the National Park System", it counts the Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trails towards that total. Its never been totally clear to me why other National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails have not similarly "counted" in the National Park Service's methodology. I'd certainly love to find out some day - although sometimes I wonder if even the Park Service itself knows the answer.... And I may take you up on your offer someday....
    http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/classlst.pdf

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Rangeroo is quite correct that all national parks are to be managed according to the same criteria, regardless of title. The Redwoods Act of 1978 made that crystal clear. Traveler understands this principle very well. If you look in the "About the Traveler" section of our "Visitor Center" (upper right corner of the home page), you'll see that Traveler specifically embraces the provisions of both the Organic Act of 1916 and the Redwoods Act of 1978. That said, it's still OK to say that a park unit may "gain National Park status," as by being upgraded from national monument. That capital N and capital P can make a huge difference in media attention and annual attendance, and that's why it's logical to say that the redesignation to National Park is an upgrade or boost in status. (An outstanding example is the recent redesignation of Congaree Swamp National Monument, which became Congaree National Park. The resulting increase in media attention and attendance for this park has been amazing.) Congress intended that the designation National Park should be reserved for the larger, more diverse park units. Ideally, a unit bearing the title National Park should be a "...spacious land and water area of nation-wide interest established as an inviolable sanctuary for the permanent preservation of scenery, wilderness, and native fauna and flora in their natural condition." Ideally, a National Park should cover a large area, offer nationally significant natural and cultural resources, and have sufficient area for adequate preservation and administration. As of 2008, only 58 of the Park System's 391 units were designated National Parks. Most, but not all, meet the stipulated quality and size criteria.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    Rangertoo,

    I worded it that way to reflect that Carlsbad initially was a national monument. The "hook" for the post was the fact that May 14 is its anniversary as a "national park" as legislated by Congress.

  • Park History: Carlsbad Caverns National Park   6 years 31 weeks ago

    How do you "gain national park status?" There are no criteria that determines a "national park" from any of the other designations in the National Park System. How else could you find Cuyahoga Valle, Hot Springs, Congaree, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon all beings titled national parks? In fact, the Redwood Act as amended states that all units are to be managed by the same policies, regardless of title designation. Please do not add to public confusion by implying that the title "national park" implies a different status, greater protection, or so other situation not shared by all units of the National Park System.